East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

  • Yield 10 to 12 servings
  • Time About 2 hours

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake


Maida Heatter’s famous lemon cake first appeared in The Times in a 1970s feature highlighting a few of her best-loved cake recipes. This one was actually found by her daughter, Toni Evins Marks, who lived on East 62nd Street at the time. Ms. Marks, who went on to illustrate a number of Ms. Heatter's cookbooks, sent it to her mother. She tinkered with it and renamed it. The cake, which is tender, moist and scented with lemon zest, is brushed with a simple glaze of lemon juice and sugar when it's still warm so it soaks into the cake. It's a timeless dessert that's perfect for practically any celebration. (Note: Some readers have mentioned in the notes below the recipe that "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts" instructs you to bake this cake at 350 degrees. Our recipe, the one that Craig Claiborne ran in 1970, before Ms. Heatter's book was published, indicates 325. Either will work, but if you bake at 350, start checking for doneness just before the hour mark.)



For the cake:

  • Fine dry bread crumbs or flour for dusting the pan
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest

For the glaze:

  • cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup sugar



  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9‐inch tube pan. Coat it with the bread crumbs.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake 1¼ hours, or until the cake tests done. 
  5. While the cake bakes, make the glaze. Warm the juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. Cover and remove from heat.
  6. When the cake is done, immediately unmold the cake onto a cake rack and apply the glaze with a pastry brush to the top and sides of the cake until it is all absorbed.